Japanese researchers said they found almost no rejection of skin and bone marrow grown from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells when implanted into mice.
iPS cells are those that have been reprogrammed to behave like the undiversified material found in a human embryo and can be grown into a wide range of tissues. They are seen as an alternative in regenerative medicine to growing embryos for harvesting, a practice fiercely opposed in some quarters.
It had long been believed that iPS cells created from a patient's own cells would trigger no rejection when put back into the same body. But in 2011, a U.S. team sounded the alarm with a study that found mouse iPS cells provoked immune responses when implanted back into the donors.
The latest work found little evidence of this, and furthermore found little rejection even when implanted into third-party mice.
The findings by scientists from institutions including the National Institute of Radiological Sciences are published in the Jan. 10 online edition of the British science journal Nature.
This team, led by NIRS researcher Ryoko Araki, implanted skin and bone marrow cells developed from mice iPS cells in mice with nearly identical genetic characteristics. The team found that skin survived for more than two months with almost no rejection, and the marrow lasted for more than four months.
However, most research in regenerative medicine has focused so far on an alternative technique: creating tissues from iPS cells in test tubes. The team said there is now a need to investigate if rejection occurs using that method.
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